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The Indian Evidence Act, 1872
Chapter 2 – Of the Relevancy of Facts
Section 5 – Evidence may be given of facts in issue and relevant facts
Evidence may be given in any suit or proceeding of the existence or non – existence of every fact in issue and of such other facts as are hereinafter declared to be relevant, and of no others.
Explanations This section shall not enable any person to give evidence of a fact which he is disentitled to prove by any provision of the law for the time being in force relating to civil procedure.
- A is tried for the murder of B by beating him with a club with the intention of causing his death. At A’s trial the following facts are in issue – A’s beating B with the club; A’s causing B’s death by such beating; A’s intention to cause B’s death.
- A suitor does not bring with him, and have in readiness for production at the first hearing of the case, a bond on which he relies. This section does not enable him to produce the bond or prove its contents at a subsequent stage of the proceedings, otherwise than in accordance with the conditions prescribed by the Code of Civil Procedure.
Section 6 – Relevancy of facts forming part of same transaction
Facts which, though not in issue, are so connected with a fact in issue as to form part of the same transaction, are relevant, whether they occurred at the same time and place or at different times and places.
- A is accused of the murder of B by beating him. Whatever was said or done by A or B or the by – standers at the beating, or so shortly before or after it as to form part of the transaction, is a relevant fact.
- A is accused of waging war against the Government of India by taking part in an armed insurrection in which property is destroyed, troops are attacked and goals are broken open. The occurrence of these facts is relevant, as forming part of the general transaction, thought A may not have been present at all of them.
- A sues B for a libel contained in a letter forming part of a correspondence. Letters between the parties relating to the subject out of which the libel arose, and forming part of the correspondence in which it is contained, are relevant facts, though they do not contain the libel itself.
- The question is, whether certain goods ordered from B were delivered to A. The goods were delivered to several intermediate persons successively. Each delivery is a relevant fact.
Section 7 – Facts which are the occasion, cause or effect of facts in issue
Facts which are the occasion, cause, or effect, immediate or otherwise, of relevant facts, or facts in issue, or which constitute the state of things under which they happened, or which afforded an opportunity for their occurrence or transaction, are relevant.
- The question is, whether A robbed B. The facts that, shortly before the robbery, B went to a fair with money in his possession, and that he showed it or mentioned the fact that he had it, to third persons, are relevant.
- The question is, whether A murdered B. Marks on the ground, produced by a struggle at or near the place where the murder was committed, are relevant facts.
- The question is, whether A poisoned B. The state of B’s health before the symptoms ascribed to poison, and habits of B, known to A, which afforded an opportunity for the administration of poison, are relevant facts.
Section 8 – Motive, preparation and previous or subsequent conduct
Any fact is relevant which shows or constitutes a motive or preparation for any fact in issue or relevant fact. The conduct of any party, or of any agent to any party, to any suit or proceeding, in reference to such suit or proceeding, or in reference to a fact in issue therein or relevant thereto, and the conduct of any person an offence against whom is the subject of any proceeding, is relevant, if such conduct influences or is influenced by any fact in issue or relevant fact, and whether it was previous or subsequent thereto.
- The word conduct in this section does not include statements, unless those statements accompany and explain acts other than statements, but this explanation is not to affect the relevancy of statements under any other section of this Act.
- When the conduct of any person is relevant, any statement made to him or in his presence and hearing, which affects such conduct, is relevant.
- A is tried for the murder of B. The facts that A murdered C, that B knew that A had murdered C, and that B had tried to extort money from A by threatening to make his knowledge public, are relevant.
- A sues B upon a bond for the payment of money. B denies the making of the bond. The fact that, at the time when the bond was alleged to be made, B required money for a particular purpose is relevant.
- A is tried for the murder of B by poison. The fact that, before the death of B, A procured poison similar to that which was administered to B, is relevant.
- The question is, whether a certain document is the will of A. The facts that, not long before the date of the alleged will, A made inquiry into matters to which the provisions of the alleged will relate, that he consulted vakils in reference to making the will, and that he caused drafts or other wills to be prepared of which he did not approve, are relevant.
- A is accused of a crime. The facts that, either before or at the time of, or after the alleged crime, A provided evidence which would tend to give to the facts of the case an appearance favourable to himself, or that he destroyed or concealed evidence, or prevented the presence or procured the absence of persons who might have been witnesses, or suborned persons to give false evidence respecting it, are relevant.
- The question is, whether A robbed B. The facts that, after B was robbed, C said in A’s presence – the police are coming to look for the man who robbed B, and that immediately afterwards A ran away, are relevant.
- The question is, whether A owes B Rupees 10,000. The facts that A asked C to lend him money, and that D said to C in A’s presence and hearing – I advise you not to trust A, for he owes B 10,000 Rupees, and that A went away without making any answer, are relevant facts.
- The question is, whether A committed a crime. The fact that A absconded after receiving a letter warning him that inquiry was being made for the criminal and the contents of the letter, are relevant.
- A is accused of a crime. The facts that, after the commission of the alleged crime, he absconded, or was in possession of property or the proceeds of properly acquired by the crime, or attempted to conceal things which were or might have been used in committing it, are relevant.
- The question is, whether A was ravished. The facts that, shortly after the alleged rape, she made a complaint relating to the crime, the circumstance under which, and the terms in which, the complaint was made, are relevant. The fact that, without making a complaint, she said that she had been ravished is not relevant as conduct under this section, though it may be relevant, as a dying declaration under section 32, clause (1), or as corroborative evidence under section 157.
- The question is, whether A was robbed. The fact that, soon after the alleged robbery, he made a complaint relating to the offence, the circumstances under which, and the terms in which, the complaint was made, are relevant. The fact that he said he had been robbed without making any complaint, is not relevant, as conduct under this section, though it may be relevant as a dying declaration under section 32, clause (1), or as corroborative evidence under section 157.
Section 9 – Facts necessary to explain or introduce relevant facts
Facts necessary to explain or introduce a fact in issue or relevant fact, or which support or rebut an inference suggested by a fact in issue or relevant fact, or which establish the identity of any thing or person whose identity is relevant, or fix the time or place at which any fact in issue or relevant fact happened, or which show the relation of parties by whom any such fact was transacted, are relevant in so far as they are necessary for that purpose.
- The question is, whether a given document is the will of A. The state of A’s property and of his family at the date of the alleged will may be relevant facts.
- A sues B for a libel imputing disgraceful conduct to A; B affirms that the matter alleged to be libellous is true. The position and relations of the parties at the time when the libel was published may be relevant facts as introductory to the facts in issue. The particulars of a dispute between A and B about a matter unconnected with the alleged libel are irrelevant though the fact that there was a dispute may be relevant if it affected the relations between A and B.
- A is accused of a crime. The fact that, soon after the commission of the crime, A absconded from his house, is relevant, under section 8 as conduct subsequent to and affected by facts in issue. The fact that at the time when he left home, he had sudden and urgent business at the place to which he went is relevant, as tending to explain the fact that he left home suddenly. The details of the business on which he left are not relevant, except in so far as they are necessary to show that the business was sudden and urgent.
- A sues B for inducing C to break a contract of service made by him with A.C., on leaving A’s service, says to A – I am leaving you because B has made me a better offer. This statement is a relevant fact as explanatory of C’s conduct, which is relevant as a fact in issue.
- A, accused of theft, is seen to give the stolen property to B, who is seen to give it to A’s wife. B says as he delivers it – A says you are to hide this. B’s statement is relevant as explanatory of a fact which is part of the transaction.
- A is tried for a riot and is proved to have marched at the head of a mob. The cries of the mob are relevant as explanatory of the nature of the transaction.
Section 10 – Things said or done by conspirator in reference to common design
Where there is reasonable ground to believe that two or more persons have conspired together to commit an offence or an actionable wrong, anything said, done or written by any one of such persons in reference to their common intention, after the time when such intention was first entertained by any one of them, is a relevant fact as against each of the persons believed to so conspiring, as well for the purpose of proving the existence of the conspiracy as for the purpose of showing that any such person was a party to it.
Illustrations Reasonable ground exists for believing that A has joined in a conspiracy to wage war against the Government of India. The facts that B procured arms in Europe for the purpose of the conspiracy, C collected money in Calcutta for a like object, D persuaded persons to join the conspiracy in Bombay, E published writings advocating the object in view at Agra, and F transmitted from Delhi to G at Kabul the money which C had collected at Calcutta, and the contents of a letter written by H giving an account of the conspiracy, are each relevant, both to prove the existence of the conspiracy, and to prove A’s complicity in it, although he may have been ignorant of all of them, and although the persons by whom they were done were stranger to him, and although they may have taken place before he joined the conspiracy or after he left it.
Section 11 – When facts not otherwise relevant become relevant
Facts not otherwise relevant are relevant –
- if they are inconsistent with any fact in issue or relevant fact;
- if by themselves or in connection with other facts they make the existence or non – existence of any fact in issue or relevant fact highly probable or improbable.
- The question is whether A committed a crime at Calcutta on a certain day. The fact that, on that day, A was at Lahore is relevant. The fact that, near the time when the crime was committed, A was at a distance from the place where it was committed, which would render it highly improbable, though not impossible, that he committed it, is relevant.
- The question is, whether A committed a crime. The circumstances are such that the crime must have been committed either by A, B, C or D. Every fact which shows that the crime could have been committed by none else and that it was not committed by either B, C or D is relevant.
Section 12 – In suits for damages, facts tending to enable Court to determine amount are relevant
In suits in which damages are claimed, any fact which will enable the Court to determine the amount of damages which ought to be awarded, is relevant.
Section 13 – Facts relevant when right or custom is in question
Where the question is as to the existence of any right or custom, the following facts are relevant –
- any transaction by which the right or custom in question was created, claimed, modified, recognized, asserted, or denied, or which was inconsistent with its existence;
- particular instances in which the right or custom was claimed, recognized, or exercised or in which its exercise was disputed, asserted or departed from.
Illustrations The question is, whether A has a right to a fishery. A deed conferring the fishery on A’s ancestors, a mortgage of the fishery by A’s father, a subsequent grant of the fishery by A’s father, irreconcilable with the mortgage, particular instances in which A’s father exercised the right, or in which the exercise of the right was stopped by A’s neighbours are relevant facts.
Section 14 – Facts showing existence of state of mind, or of body or bodily feeling
Facts showing the existence of any state of mind, such as intention, knowledge, good faith, negligence, rashness, ill – will or good – will towards any particular person, or showing the existence of any state of body or bodily feeling, are relevant, when the existence of any such state of mind or body or bodily feeling, is in issue or relevant.
- A fact relevant as showing the existence of a relevant state of mind must show that the state of mind exists, not generally, but in reference to the particular matter in question.
- But where, upon the trial of a person accused of an offence, the previous commission by the accused of an offence is relevant within the meaning of this section, the previous conviction of such person shall also be a relevant fact.
- A is accused of receiving stolen goods knowing them to be stolen. It is proved that he was in possession of a particular stolen article. The fact that, at the same time, he was in possession of many other stolen articles is relevant, as tending to show that he knew each and all of the articles of which he was in possession, to be stolen.
- A is accused of fraudulently delivering to another person a counterfeit coin which, at the time when he delivered it, he knew to be counterfeit. The fact that, at the time of its delivery, A was possessed of a number of other pieces of counterfeit coin is relevant. The fact that A had been previously convicted of delivering to another person as genuine a counterfeit coin knowing it to be counterfeit is relevant.
- A sues B for damage done by a dog of B’s which B knew to be ferocious. The facts that the dog had previously bitten X, Y, and Z, and that they had made complaints to B, are relevant.
- The question is whether A, the acceptor of a bill of exchange, knew that the name of the payee was fictitious. The fact that A had accepted other bills drawn in the same manner before they could have been transmitted to him by the payee if the payee had been a real person, is relevant, as showing that A knew that the payee was a fictitious person.
- A is accused of defaming B by publishing an imputation intended to harm the reputation of B. The fact of previous publications by A respecting B, showing ill – will on the part of A towards B, is relevant, as proving A’s intention to harm B’s reputation by the particular publication in question. The facts that there was no previous quarrel between A and B, and that A repeated the matter complained of as he heard it, are relevant, as showing that A did not intend to harm the reputation of B.
- A is sued by B for fraudulently representing to B that C was solvent, whereby B, being induced to trust C, who was insolvent, suffered loss. The fact that at the time when A represented C to be solvent, C was supposed to be solvent by his neighbours and by persons dealing with him, is relevant, as showing that A made the representation in good faith.
- A is sued by B for the price of work done by B, upon a house of which A is owner, by the order of C, a contractor. A’s defence is that B’s contract was with C. The fact that A paid C for the work in question is relevant, as proving that A did, in good faith make over to C the management of the work in question, so that C was in a position to contract with B on C’s own account, and not as agent for A.
- A is accused of the dishonest misappropriation of property which he had found, and the question is whether when he appropriated it, he believed in good faith that the real owner could not be found. The fact that public notice of the loss of the property had been given in the place where A was, is relevant, as showing that A did not in good faith believe that the real owner of the properly could not be found. The fact that A knew, or had reason to believe, that the notice was given fraudulently by C, who had heard of the loss of the property and wished to set up a false claim to it, is relevant, as showing the fact that A knew of the notice did not disprove A’s good faith.
- A is charged with shooting at B with intent to kill him. In order to show A’s intent, the fact of A’s having previously shot at B may be proved.
- A is charged with sending threatening letters to B. Threatening letters previously sent by A to B may be proved as showing intention of the letters.
- The question is, whether A has been guilty of cruelty towards B, his wife. Expressions of their feeling towards each other shortly before or after the alleged cruelly, are relevant facts.
- The question is, whether A’s death was caused by poison. Statements made by A during his illness as to his symptoms are relevant facts.
- The question is, what was the state of A’s health at the time when an assurance on his life was effected. Statements made by A as to the state of his health at or near the time in question are relevant facts.
- A sues B for negligence in providing him with a carriage for hire not reasonably fit for use, whereby A was injured. The fact that B’s attention was drawn on other occasions to the defect of that particular carriage, is relevant. The fact that B was habitually negligent about the carriages which he let to hire is irrelevant.
- A is tried for the murder of B by intentionally shooting him dead. The fact that A on other occasions shot at B is relevant as showing his intention to shoot B. The fact that A was in the habit of shooting at people with intent to murder them is irrelevant.
- A is tried for a crime. The fact that he said something indicating an intention to commit that particular crime is relevant. The fact that he said something indicating a general disposition to commit crime of that class is irrelevant
Section 15 – Facts bearing on question whether act was accidental or intentional
When there is a question whether an act was accidental or intentional, or done with a particular knowledge or intention, the fact that such act formed part of a series of similar occurrences, in each of which the person doing the act was concerned, is relevant.
- A is accused of burning down his house in order to obtain money for which it is insured. The facts that A lived in several houses successively, each of which he insured, in each of which a fire occurred, and after each of which fires A received payment from a different insurance office, are relevant, as tending to show that the fires were not accidental.
- A is employed to receive money from the debtors of B. It is A’s duty to make entries in a book showing the amounts received by him. He makes an entry showing that on a particular occasion he received less than he really did receive. The question is, whether this false entry was accidental or intentional. The facts that other entries made by A in the same book are false, and that the false entry is in each case in favour of A, are relevant.
- A is accused of fraudulently delivering to B a counterfeit rupee. The question is, whether the delivery of the rupee was accidental. The facts that, soon before or soon after the delivery to B, A delivered counterfeit rupees to C, D and E are relevant, as showing that the delivery to B, was not accidental.
Section 16 – Existence of course of business when relevant
When there is a question whether a particular act was done, the existence of any course of business, according to which it naturally would have been done, is a relevant fact.
- The question is, whether a particular letter was dispatched. The fact that it was the ordinary course of business for all letters put in a certain place to be carried to the post, and that particular letter was put in that place, are relevant.
- The question is, whether a particular letter reached A. The facts that it was posted in due course, and was not returned through the Dead Letter Office, are relevant.
Sections 17 to 31 – Admissions
Section 17 – Admission defined
An admission is a statement, oral or documentary or contained in electronic form, which suggests any inference as to any fact in issue or relevant fact, and which is made by any of the persons, and under the circumstances, hereinafter mentioned.
Section 18 – Admission by party to proceeding or his agent by suitor in representative character
Statements made by a party to the proceeding, or by an agent to any such party, whom the Court regards, under the circumstances of the case, as expressly or impliedly authorized by him to make them, are admissions. by suitor in representative character: Statements made by parties to suits suing or sued in a representative character, are not admissions, unless they were made while the party making them held that character. Statements made by –
- party interested in subject – matter: persons who have any proprietary or pecuniary interest in the subject – matter of the proceeding, and who make the statement in their character of persons so interested, or
- person from whom interest derived: persons from whom the parties to the suit have derived their interest in the subject – matter of the suit, are admissions, if they are made during the continuance of the interest of the persons making the statements.
Section 19 – Admissions by persons whose position must be proved as against party to suit
Statements made by persons whose position or liability, it is necessary to prove as against any party to the suit, are admissions, if such statements would be relevant as against such persons in relation to such position or liability in a suit brought by or against them, and if they are made whilst the person making them occupies such position or is subject to such liability.
Illustrations A undertakes to collect rents for B. B sues A for not collecting rent due from C to B. A denies that rent was due from C to B. A statement by C that he owed B rent is an admission, and is a relevant fact as against A, AS A denies that C did owe rent to B.
Section 20 – Admissions by persons expressly referred to by party to suit
Statements made by persons to whom a party to the suit has expressly referred for information in reference to a matter in dispute are admissions.
Illustrations The question is, whether a horse sold by A to B is sound. A says to B – Go and ask C, C knows all about it. C’s statement is an admission.
Section 21 – Proof of admissions against persons making them, and by or on their behalf
Admissions are relevant and may be proved as against the person who makes them or his representative in interest; but they cannot be proved by or on behalf of the person who makes them or by his representative in interest, except in the following cases –
- An admission may be proved by or on behalf of the person making it, when it is of such a nature that, if the person making it were dead, it would be relevant as between third persons under section 32.
- An admission may by proved by or on behalf of the person making it, when it consists of a statement of the existence of any state of mind or body, relevant or in issue, made at or about the time when such state of mind or body existed, and is accompanied by conduct rendering its falsehood improbable.
- An admission may be proved by on behalf of the person making it, if it is relevant otherwise than as an admission.
- The question between A and B is, whether a certain deed is or is not forged, A affirms that it is genuine, B that it is forged. A may prove a statement by B that the deed is genuine, and B may prove a statement by A that the deed is forged; but A cannot prove a statement by himself that the deed is genuine, nor can B prove a statement by himself that the deed is forged.
- A, the Captain of a ship, is tried for casting her away. Evidence is given to show that the ship was taken out of her proper course. A produces a book kept by him in the ordinary course of his business showing observations alleged to have been taken by him from day to day, and indicating mat the ship was not taken out of her proper course. A may prove these statements, because they would be admissible between third parties, if he were dead, under section 32, clause (2).
- A is accused of a crime committed by him at Calcutta. He produces a letter written by himself and dated at Lahore on that day, and bearing the Lahore post mark of that day. The statement in the date of the letter is admissible, because, if A were dead, it would be admissible under section 32, clause (2).
- A is accused of receiving stolen goods knowing them to be stolen. He offers to prove that he refused to sell them below their value. A may prove these statements, though they are admissions, because they are explanatory of conduct influenced by facts in issue.
- A is accused of fraudulently having in his possession counterfeit coin which he knew to be counterfeit. He offers to prove that he asked a skilful person to examine the coin as he doubted whether it was counterfeit or not, and that the person did examine it and told him it was genuine. A may prove these facts for the reasons stated in the last preceding illustration.
Section 22 – When oral admissions as to contents of documents are relevant
Oral admissions as to the contents of a document are not relevant, unless and until the party proposing to prove them shows that he is entitled to give secondary evidence of the contents of such document under the rules hereinafter contained, or unless the genuineness of a document produced is in question.
Section 22A – When oral admission as to contents of electronic records are relevant
Oral admissions as to the contents of electronic records are not relevant, unless the genuineness of the electronic record produced is in question.
Section 23 – Admissions in civil cases, when relevant
In civil cases no admission is relevant, if it is made either upon an express condition that evidence of it is not to be given, or under circumstances from which the Court can infer that the parties agreed together that evidence of it should not be given.
Explanations Nothing in this section shall be taken to exempt any barrister, pleader, attorney or vakil from giving evidence of any matter of which he may be compelled to give evidence under section 126.
Section 24 – Confession caused by inducement, threat or promise, when irrelevant in criminal proceeding
A confession made by an accused person is irrelevant in a criminal proceeding, if the making of the confession appears to the Court to have been caused by any inducement, threat or promise, having reference to the charge against the accused person, proceeding from a person in authority and sufficient, in the opinion of the Court, to give the accused person grounds, which would appear to him reasonable, for supposing that by making it he would gain any advantage or avoid any evil of a temporal nature in reference to the proceedings against him. 1. For prohibition of such inducement, etc., see the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), section 316.
Section 25 – Confession to police officer not to be proved
No confession made to a police officer, shall be proved as against a person accused of any offence. 1. As to statements made to a police officer investigating a case, see the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), section 162.
Section 26 – Confession by accused while in custody of police not to be proved against him
No confession made by any person whilst the is in the custody of a police officer, unless it be made in the immediate presence of a Magistrate, shall be proved as against such person.
Explanations In this section Magistrate does not include the head of a village discharging magisterial functions in the Presidency of Fort St. George or elsewhere, unless such headman is a Magistrate exercising the powers of a Magistrate under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1882 (10 of 1882)4. 1. A Coroner has been declared to be Magistrate for the purposes of this section, see the Coroners Act, 1871 (4 of 1871) section 20.
Section 27 – How much of information received from accused may be proved
Provided that, when any fact is deposed to as discovered in consequence of information received from a person accused of any offence, in the custody of a police officer, so much of such information, whether it amounts to a confession or not, as relates distinctly to the fact thereby discovered, may be proved.
Section 28 – Confession made after removal of impression caused by inducement, threat or promise relevant
If such a confession as is referred to in section 24 is made after the impression caused by any such inducement, threat or promise has, in the opinion of the Court, been fully removed, it is relevant.
Section 29 – Confession otherwise relevant not to become irrelevant because of promise of secrecy, etc
If such a confession is otherwise relevant, it docs not become irrelevant merely because it was made under a promise of secrecy, or in consequence of a deception practiced on the accused person for the purpose of obtaining it, or when he was drunk, or because it was made in answer to questions which he need not have answered, whatever may have been the form of those questions, or because he was not warned that he was not bound to make such confession, and that evidence of it might be given against him.
Section 30 – Consideration of proved confession affecting person making it and others jointly under trial for same offence
When more persons than one are being tried jointly for the same offence, and a confession made by one of such persons affecting himself and some other of such persons is proved, the Court may take into consideration such confession as against such other person as well as against the person who makes such confession.
ExplanationsOffence, as used in this section, includes the abetment of, or attempt to commit the offence.
- A and B are jointly tried for the murder of C. It is proved that A said – B and I murdered C. The Court may consider the effect of this confession as against B.
- A is on his trial for the murder of C. There is evidence to show that C was murdered by A and B, and that B said – *A and I murdered C *. This statement may not be taken into consideration by the Court against A, as B is not being jointly tried.
Section 31 – Admissions not conclusive proof, but may estop
Admissions are not conclusive proof of the matters admitted but they may operate as estoppels under the provisions hereinafter contained.
Sections 32 to 33 – Statements by persons who cannot be called as witnesses
Section 32 – Cases in which statement of relevant fact by person who is dead or cannot be found, etc., is relevant
Statements, written or verbal, of relevant facts made by a person who is dead, or who cannot be found, or who has become incapable of giving evidence, or whose attendance cannot be procured, without an amount of delay or expense which under the circumstances of the case appears to the Court unreasonable, are themselves relevant facts in the following cases –
- when it relates to cause of death: When the statement is made by a person as to the cause of his death, or as to any of the circumstances of the transaction which resulted in his death, in cases in which the cause of that person’s death comes into question. Such statements are relevant whether the person who made them was or was not, at the time when they were made, under expectation of death, and whatever may be the nature of the proceeding in which the cause of his death comes into question.
- or is made in course of business: When the statement was made by such person in the ordinary course of business, and in particular when it consists of any entry or memorandum made by him in books kept in the ordinary course of business, or in the discharge of professional duly; or of an acknowledgment written or signed by him of the receipt of money, goods, securities or property of any kind; or of a document used in commerce written or signed by him; or of the date of a letter or other document usually dated, written or signed by him.
- or against interest of maker: When the statement is against the pecuniary or proprietary interest of the person making it or when, if true, it would expose him or would have exposed him to a criminal prosecution or to a suit for damages.
- or gives opinion as to public right or custom, or matters of general interests: When the statement gives the opinion of any such person, as to the existence of any public right or custom or matter of public or general interest, of the existence of which, if it existed he would have been likely to be aware, and when such statement was made before any controversy as to such right, custom or matter had arisen.
- or relates to existence of relationship: When the statement relates to the existence of any relationship by blood, marriage or adoption between persons as to whose relationship by blood, marriage or adoption the person making the statement had special means of knowledge, and when the statement was made before the question in dispute was raised.
- or is made in will or deed relating to family affairs: When the statement relates to the existence of any relationship by blood, marriage or adoption between persons deceased, and is made in any will or deed relating to the affairs of the family to which any such deceased person belonged, or in any family pedigree, or upon any tombstone, family portrait, or other thing on which such statements are usually made, and when such statement was made before the question in dispute was raised.
- or is document relating to transaction mentioned in section 13, clause (a): When the statement is contained in any deed, will or other document which relates to any such transaction as is mentioned in section 13, clause (a).
- or is made by several persons and expresses feelings relevant to matter in question: When the statement was made by a number of persons, and expressed feelings or impressions on their pan relevant to the matter in question.
- The question is, whether A was murdered by B; or A dies of injuries received in a transaction in the course of which she was ravished. The question is whether she was ravished by B; or The question is, whether A was killed by B under such circumstances that a suit would lie against B by A’s widow. Statements made by A as to the cause of his or her death, referring respectively to the murder, the rape and the actionable wrong under consideration, are relevant facts.
- The question is as to the date of A’s birth. An entry in the diary of a deceased surgeon regularly kept in the course of business, stating that, on a given day he attended A’s mother and delivered her of a son, is a relevant fact.
- The question is, whether A was in Calcutta on a given day. A statement in the diary of a deceased solicitor, regularly kept in the course of business that on a given day the solicitor attended A at a place mentioned, in Calcutta, for the purpose of conferring with him upon specified business, is a relevant fact.
- The question is, whether a ship sailed from Bombay harbour on a given day. A letter written by a deceased member of a merchants firm, by which she was chartered to their correspondents in London to whom the cargo was consigned, stating that me ship sailed on a given day from Bombay harbour, is a relevant fact.
- The question is, whether rent was paid to A for certain land. A letter from A’s deceased agent to A, saying that he had received the rent on A’s account and held it at A’s orders is a relevant fact.
- The question is, whether A and B were legally married. The statement of a deceased clergyman that he married them under such circumstances that the celebration would be a crime, is relevant.
- The question is, whether A, a person who cannot be found, wrote a letter on a certain day. The fact that a letter written by him is dated on that day is relevant.
- The question is, what was the cause of the wreck of a ship. A protest made by the Captain, whose attendance cannot be procured, is a relevant fact.
- The question is, whether a given road is a public way. A statement by A, a deceased headman of the village, that the road was public, is a relevant fact.
- The question is, what was the price of grain on a certain day in a particular market. A statement of the price, made by a deceased baniya in the ordinary course of his business is a relevant fact.
- The question is, whether A, who is dead, was the father of B. A statement by A that B was his son, is a relevant fact.
- The question is, what was the date of the birth of A. A letter from A’s deceased father to a friend, announcing the birth of A on a given day, is a relevant fact.
- The question is, whether, and when, A and B were married. An entry in a memorandum book by C, the deceased father of B, of his daughter’s marriage with A on a given date, is a relevant fact.
- A sues B for a libel expressed in a painted caricature exposed in a shop window. The question is as to the similarity of the caricature and its libellous character. The remarks of a crowd of spectators on these points may be proved.
Section 33 – Relevancy of certain evidence for proving, in subsequent proceeding, the truth of facts therein stated
Evidence given by a witness in a judicial proceeding or before any person authorized by law to take it, is relevant for the purpose of proving, in a subsequent judicial proceeding, or in a later stage of the same judicial proceeding, the truth of the facts which it states, when the witness is dead or cannot be found, or is incapable of giving evidence, or is kept out of the way by the adverse party, or if his presence cannot be obtained without an amount of delay or expense which, under the circumstances of the case, the Court considers unreasonable;
*Provided* – that the proceeding was between the same parties or their representatives in interest; that the adverse party in the first proceeding had the right and opportunity to cross – examine; that the questions in issue were substantially the same in the first as in the second proceeding.
Explanations A criminal trial or inquiry shall be deemed to be a proceeding between the prosecutor and the accused within the meaning of this section.
Sections 34 to 38 – Statements made under special circumstances
Section 34 – Entries in books of account including those maintained in an electronic form when relevant
Entries in books of accounts including those maintained in an electronic form, regularly kept in the course of business, are relevant whenever they refer to a matter into which the Court has to inquire, but such statements shall not alone be sufficient evidence to charge any person with liability.
Illustrations A sues B for Rs. 1,000, and shows entries in his account – books showing B to be indebted to him to this amount. The entries are relevant, but are not sufficient, without other evidence, to prove the debt.
Section 35 – Relevancy of entry in public record or an electronic record made in performance of duty
An entry in any public or other official book, register or record or an electronic record, stating a fact in issue or relevant fact, and made by a public servant in the discharge of his official duty, or by any other person in performance of a duty specially enjoined by the law of the country in which such book, register, or record or an electronic record is kept, is itself a relevant fact.
Section 36 – Relevancy of statements in maps, charts and plans
Statements of facts in issue or relevant facts, made in published maps or charts generally offered for public sale, or in maps or plans made under the authority of the Central Government or any State Government, as to matters usually represented or stated in such maps, charts or plans, are themselves relevant facts.
Section 37 – Relevancy of statement as to fact to public nature, contained in certain Acts or notifications
When the Court has to form an opinion as to the existence of any fact of a Public nature, any statement of it, made in a recital contained in any Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom, or in any Central Act, Provincial Act, or a State Act, or in a Government notification or notification by the Crown Representative appearing in the Official Gazette or in any printed paper purporting to be the London Gazette or the Government Gazette of any Dominion, colony or possession of His Majesty is a relevant fact.
Section 38 – Relevancy of statements as to any law contained in law – books
When the Court has to form an opinion as to a law of any country, any statement of such law contained in a book purporting to be printed or published under the authority of the Government of such country and to contain any such law, and any report of a ruling of the Courts of such country contained in a book purporting to be a report of such rulings, is relevant.
Section 39 – What evidence to be given when statement forms part of a conversation, document, electronic record, book or series of letters or papers
When any statement of which evidence is given forms part of a longer statement, or of a conversation or part of an isolated document, or is contained in a document which forms part of a book, or is contained in part of electronic record or a connected series of letters or papers, evidence shall be given of so much and no more of the statement, conversation, document, electronic record, book or series of letters or papers as the Court considers necessary in that particular case to the full understanding of the nature and effect of the statement, and of the circumstances under which it was made.
Sections 40 to 44 – Judgments of Courts of justice, when relevant
Section 40 – Previous judgments relevant to bar a second suit or trial
The existence of any judgment, order or decree which by law prevents any Courts from taking cognizance of a suit or holding a trial is a relevant fact when the question is whether such Court ought to take cognizance of such suit or to hold such trial.
Section 41 – Relevancy of certain judgments in probate, etc., jurisdiction
A final judgment, order or decree of a competent Court, in the exercise of probate, matrimonial admiralty or insolvency jurisdiction which confers upon or takes away from any person any legal character, or which declares any person to be entitled to any such character, or to be entitled to any specific thing, not as against any specified person but absolutely, is relevant when the existence of any such legal character, or the title of any such person to any such thing, is relevant. Such judgment, order or decree is conclusive proof – that any legal character which it confers accrued at the time when such judgment, order or decree came into operation; that any legal character, to which it declares any such person to be entitled, accrued, to that person at the time when such judgment, order or decree declares it to have accrued to that person; that any legal character which it takes away from any such person ceased at the time from which such judgment, order or decree declared that it had ceased or should cease; and that anything to which it declares any person to be so entitled was the property of that person at the time from which such judgment, order or decree declares that it had been or should be his property.
Section 42 – Relevancy and effect of judgments, orders or decrees, other than those mentioned in section 41
Judgments, orders or decrees other than those mentioned in section 41, are relevant if they relate to matters of a public nature relevant to the enquiry, but such judgments, orders or decrees are not conclusive proof of that which they state.
Illustrations A sues B for trespass on his land. B alleges the existence of a public right of way over the land, which A denies. The existence of a decree in favour of the defendant, in a suit by A against C for a trespass on the same land in which C alleged the existence of the same right of way, is relevant, but it is not conclusive proof that the right of way exists.
Section 43 – Judgments, etc., other than those mentioned in sections 40 to 42, when relevant
Judgments, orders or decrees, other than those mentioned in sections 40, 41 and 42 are irrelevant, unless the existence of such judgment, order or decree, is a fact in issue, or is relevant under some other provisions of this Act.
- A and B separately sue C for a libel which reflects upon each of them. C in each case says, that the matter alleged to be libellous is true, and the circumstances are such that it is probably true in each case, or in neither. A obtains a decree against C for damages on the ground that C failed to make out his justification. The fact is irrelevant as between B and C.
- A prosecutes B for adultery with C, A’s wife. B denies that C is A’s wife, but the court convicts B of adultery. Afterwards, C is prosecuted for bigamy in marrying B during A’s lifetime. C says that she never was A’s wife. The judgment against B is irrelevant as against C.
- A prosecutes B for stealing a cow from him, B, is convicted. A afterwards sues C for the cow, which B had sold to him before his conviction. As between A and C, the judgment against B is irrelevant.
- A has obtained a decree for the possession of land against B, C, B’s son, murders A in consequence. The existence of the judgment is relevant, as showing motive for a crime.
- A is charged with theft and with having been previously convicted of theft. The previous conviction is relevant as a fact in issue.
- A is tried for the murder of B. The fact that B prosecuted A for libel and that A was convicted and sentenced relevant under section 8 as showing the motive for the fact in issue.
Section 44 – Fraud or collusion in obtaining judgment, or incompetency of Court, may be proved
Any party to a suit or other proceeding may show that any judgment, order or decree which is relevant under sections 40, 41 or 42 and which has been proved by the adverse party, was delivered by a Court not competent to deliver it, or was obtained by fraud or collusion.
Sections 45 to 51 – Opinions of third persons when relevant
Section 45 – Opinions of experts
When the Court has to form an opinion upon a point of foreign law or of science or art, or as identity of handwriting or finger impressions, the opinions upon that point of persons specially skilled in such foreign law, science or art, or in questions as to identity of handwriting or finger impressions are relevant facts. Such persons are called experts.
- The question is, whether the death of A was caused by poison. The opinions of experts as to the symptoms produced by the poison by which A is supposed to have died are relevant.
- The question is, whether A. at the time of doing a certain act, was, by reason of unsoundness of mind, incapable of knowing the nature of the Act, or that he was doing what was either wrong or contrary to law. The opinions of experts upon the question whether the symptoms exhibited by A commonly show unsoundness of mind, and whether such unsoundness of mind usually renders persons incapable of knowing the nature of the acts which they do, or of knowing that what they do is either wrong or contrary to law, are relevant.
- The question is, whether a certain document was written by A. Another document is produced which is proved or admitted to have been written by A. The opinions of experts on the question whether the two documents were written by the same person or by different persons are relevant.
Section 46 – Facts bearing upon opinions of experts
Facts, not otherwise relevant, are relevant if they support or are inconsistent with the opinion of experts, when such opinions are relevant.
- The question is, whether A was poisoned by a certain poison. The fact that other persons, who were poisoned by that person, exhibited certain symptoms which experts affirm or deny to be the symptoms of that poison, is relevant.
- The question is, whether an obstruction to a harbour is caused by a certain sea – wall. The fact that other harbours similarly situated in other respects, but where there were no such sea – walls began to be obstructed at about the same time, is relevant.
Section 47 – Opinion as to handwriting, when relevant
When the Court has to form an opinion as to the person by whom any document was written or signed, the opinion of any person acquainted with the handwriting of the person by whom it is supposed to be written or signed that it was or was not written or signed by that person, is a relevant fact.
Explanations A person is said to be acquainted with the handwriting of another person when he has seen that person write, or when he has received documents purporting to be written by that person in answer to documents written by himself or under his authority and addressed to that person, or when, in the ordinary course of business, documents purporting to be written by that person have been habitually submitted to him.
Illustrations The question is, whether a given letter is in the underwriting of A, a merchant in London. B is a merchant in Calcutta, who has written letters addressed to A and received letters purporting to be written by him. C is B’s clerk, whose duty it was to examine and file B’s correspondence. D is B’s broker, to whom B habitually submitted the letters purporting to be written by A for the purpose of advising him thereon. The opinions of B, C and D on the question whether the letter is in the handwriting of A are relevant, though neither B, C nor D ever saw A write.
Section 47A – Opinion as to digital signature when relevant
When the Court has to form an opinion as to the digital signature of any person, the opinion of the Certifying Authority which has issued the Digital Signature Certificate is a relevant fact.______
Section 48 – Opinion as to existence of right or custom, when relevant
When the Court has to form an opinion as to the existence of any general custom or right, the opinions, as to the existence of such custom or right, of persons who would be likely to know of its existence if it existed, are relevant.
Explanations The expression general custom or right includes customs or rights common to any considerable class of persons.
Illustrations The right of the villagers of a particular village to use the water of a particular well is a general right within the meaning of this section.
Section 49 – Opinion as to usages, tenets, etc., when relevant
When the Court has to form an opinion as to – the usages and tenets of any body of men or family, the constitution and government of any religious or charitable foundation, or the meaning of words or terms used in particular districts or by particular classes of people, the opinions of persons having special means of knowledge thereon, are relevant facts.
Section 50 – Opinion or relationship, when relevant
When the Court has to form an opinion as to the relationship of one person to another, the opinion, expressed by conduct, as to the existence of such relationship, or any person who, as a member of the family or otherwise, has special means of knowledge on the subject, is relevant fact;
Provided that such opinion shall not be sufficient to prove a marriage in proceedings under the Indian Divorce Act, 1869 (4 of 1869) or in prosecutions under sections 494, 495, 497 or 498 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).
- The question is, whether A and B, were married. The fact that they were usually received and treated by their friends as husband and wife, is relevant.
- The question is, whether A was the legitimate son of B. The fact that A was always treated as such by members of the family, is relevant.
Section 51 – Grounds of opinion, when relevant
Whenever the opinion of any living person is relevant, the grounds on which such opinion is based are also relevant.
Illustrations An expert may give an account of experiments performed by him for the purpose of forming his opinion.
Sections 52 to 55 – Character when relevant
Section 52 – In civil cases character to prove conduct imputed, irrelevant
In civil cases, the fad that the character of any person concerned is such as to render probable or improbable any conduct imputed to him, is irrelevant, except in so far as such character appears from facts otherwise relevant.
Section 53 – In criminal cases, previous good character relevant
In criminal proceedings, the fact that the person accused is of a good character, is relevant.
Section 53A – Evidence of character or previous sexual experience not relevant in certain cases.
In a prosecution for an offence under section 354, section 354A, section 354B, section 354C, section 354B, section 376, section 376A, section 376A, section 376AB, section 376B, section 376C, section 376D, section 376DA, section 376DB or section 376E of the Indian Penal Code or for attempt to commit any such offence, where the question of consent is in issue, evidence of the character of the victim or of such person’s previous sexual experience with any person shall not be relevant on the issue of such consent or the quality of consent.
1 Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013
2 Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018
Section 54 – Previous bad character not relevant, except in reply
In criminal proceedings the fact that the accused person has a bad character is irrelevant, unless evidence has been given that he has a good character, in which case it becomes relevant.
- This section does not apply to cases in which the bad character of any person is itself a fact in issue.
- A previous conviction is relevant as evidence of bad character.
Section 55 – Character as affecting damages
In civil cases, the fact that the character of any person is such as to affect the amount of damages which he ought to receive, is relevant.
Explanations Sections 52, 53, 54 and 55, the word character includes both reputation and disposition; but except as provided in section 54, evidence may be given only of general reputation and general disposition, and not of particular acts by which reputation or disposition were shown.
Important Central Acts in Regional Languages
Legislative department website also features regional language versions of several important Central Acts.
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